TPM News

The wait is over! Rick Perry will host his much-buzzed about Christian prayer-fest "The Response" in Houston on Saturday, where participants will ask for divine help to overcome America's myriad problems.

"A historic crisis facing our nation and threatening our future demands a historic response from the church," Perry said in a video recorded to promote the event. "We must, as a people, return to the faith and hope of our fathers. The ancient paths of great men were blazed in prayer - the humility of the truly great men of history was revealed in their recognition of the power and might of Jesus to save all who call on His great name."

It's a far cry from the Perry of 2002, who was described in a Texas Monthly profile as reluctant to discuss his faith in public. Asked how his religion informed his politics, he replied: "I don't think it does, particularly."

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Here's a tip for the tea party Republican attempting to win a general election: don't let Democrats find out you employed Chinese labor to publish your books about American heroism.

Such is the fate of Kim Simac, a tea party leader founder and Republican party choice to win the Wisconsin state Senate recall election against incumbent Democratic Sen. Jim Holperin. Simac was last seen scrubbing the web of her past writings comparing the public schools to Nazi Germany.

Now she's stuck having to explain away why her uber-patriotic children's books are published in China.

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Well, Congress has done it. It's hit its highest disapproval ratings since the New York Times/CBS News poll was created in 1977. In the wake of the debt debate, a full 82% of Americans are displeased with the legislative branch, with only 14% approval.

It's not so much the deal that was struck on the debt ceiling increase, which Americans were split on: 46% actually approved of the deal versus 45%. It was the perceived motivations that have people upset. 82% of the poll's respondents said that disagreements between parties on the debt ceiling debate were due to "gaining political advantage," rather than "doing what's best for the country," which only 14% saw as the motivator for Congress. Those numbers perfectly mirrored the general Congressional ratings.

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Senate Majority Leader Reid says he and House Republicans have reached a deal on FAA funding that will end a partial shutdown, which threatened to drag through the month of August.

"I am pleased to announce that we have been able to broker a bipartisan compromise between the House and the Senate to put 74,000 transportation and construction workers back to work," Reid noted in a Thursday statement. "This agreement does not resolve the important differences that still remain. But I believe we should keep Americans working while Congress settles its differences, and this agreement will do exactly that."

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With comprehensive immigration reform nowhere to be seen, the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday introduced a series of policy tweaks designed to attract and retain immigrant entrepreneurs who would otherwise have trouble getting a visa or staying in the United States.

The changes are based on a reinterpretation of existing policy, so the administration does not need Congressional approval for the adjustments.

Nonetheless, the the policy shift is real: non-citizen founders of U.S. companies, foreigners with special skills, and foreign investors all can expect a smoother process.

Immigration policy for the skilled and well-educated is an area of intense interest in Silicon Valley, where both established firms and start-ups compete to keep top talent in their bullpens -- and in the United States.

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One of the targeted Republican state Senators in this Tuesday's Wisconsin recalls, Alberta Darling, is headed into the home stretch with an interesting message: That the recall should not even be happening, and voters who don't like the policies that have been enacted under Gov. Scott Walker should wait for the 2012 legislative races.

"We have elections. Elections have consequences. If you don't like what's happening, make a change in the next election," Darling said at a debate on Wednesday, WisPolitics reports. "We did. The (2010) election said, 'make a change,' and we did. We flipped the Assembly, the Senate and the governor's house. And you know what? If you don't like what we're doing, go vote in the 2012 elections. We listened to the people in 2010."

Whatever one's attitude is about recalls as an idea, one thing is still certain: The state constitution provides for recalls under a process that was triggered through sufficient signatures, so the election is on. As such, it is unclear whether such an argument will do much to attract voters in a race that will rely heavily on both parties turning out their base.

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In her most candid assessment to date, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Democrats should have fared better in the debt limit fight. And she was unable to defend the final deal from the suggestion that it will cost the country jobs.

But in a new wrinkle, she also said the deal was crafted with the expectation that Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) would be able to marshal a majority for the bill on his own -- a mark he fell far short of.

Pelosi convened a handful of new media reporters to discuss the Democrats' plans for legislative action on jobs. I asked whether she believed the new law, which will ultimately result in at least $2.1 trillion worth of austerity measures, would cost jobs, and if so, how many.

Her response is worth quoting in full.

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Watchdog groups are demanding that state and federal officials investigate a $1 million donation from a mysterious firm to an independent political group backing Mitt Romney's campaign in order to determine whether it violates federal campaign laws.

In a letter to Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, the Public Campaign Action Fund claims that the giant contribution to Super PAC "Restore Our Future" from the firm W Spann LLC is out of bounds. As first reported by NBC's Michale Isikoff, records show the firm was incorporated in the state in March and then dissolved in July with little apparent activity besides its donation and virtually no publicly available information on its owners.

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